Red Mountain High School Social Worker
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I know this is a very difficult and trying time for parents and students alike. This is a time when there is a lot of uncertainty about what is next. There are millions of questions and with that can come anxiety and depression. Being isolated from friends, family and school can be very difficult for your child to navigate. I wanted to offer some information for all of you.
Click Here for more info from the Mayo Clinic.
Be alert for emotional changes such as:
- Feelings of sadness, which can include crying spells for no apparent reason
- Frustration or feelings of anger, even over small matters
- Feeling hopeless or empty
- Irritable or annoyed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Loss of interest in, or conflict with, family and friends
- Low self-esteem
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Fixation on past failures or exaggerated self-blame or self-criticism
- Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure, and the need for excessive reassurance
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Ongoing sense that life and the future are grim and bleak
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
Watch for behavioral changes such as:
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- Insomnia or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite — decreased appetite and weight loss, or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Frequent complaints of unexplained body aches and headaches, which may include frequent visits to the school nurse
- Social isolation
- Poor school performance or frequent absences from school
- Less attention to personal hygiene or appearance
- Angry outbursts, disruptive or risky behavior, or other acting-out behaviors
- Self-harm — for example, cutting, burning, or excessive piercing or tattooing
- Making a suicide plan or a suicide attempt
Teen depression is a serious mental health problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how your teenager thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Although depression can occur at any time in life, symptoms may be different between teens and adults.
Please Note: many of our teens exhibit some of these characteristics as part of their personality - these are considered concerning when its “new” to your child.
Anxiety is quite common for teens, especially with not knowing what is happening next. Our Seniors are dealing with the very real possibility that they will not be finishing their senior year as they had expected. This can lead to both an increase in anxiety AND depression.
Some warning signs associated with anxiety include:
(Read more at: https://www.psycom.net/hidden-signs-teen-anxiety/)
While some anxious teens express feelings of pervasive worry, others experience subtle emotional changes such as:
- Feeling “keyed up”
- Feeling on edge
- Difficulty concentrating
- Unexplained outbursts
Please Note: some of these are the new “norm” for society and should be considered carefully. These are often accompanied by other factors listed.
Anxiety can negatively affect friendships. If your once social teen suddenly avoids his favorite activities or stops making plans with friends, think twice. You might notice your child:
- Avoiding social interactions with usual friends
- Avoiding extracurricular activities
- Isolating from peer group
- Spending increased time alone
Many of the physical complaints that can occur with an anxiety disorder mimic average teen complaints, which tend to increase as they get older. Pay attention to patterns. A couple of headaches here and there shouldn’t be a cause for concern, for example, but frequent headaches are a red flag. Watch for these common psychosomatic complaints:
- Frequent headaches, including migraines
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Excessive fatigue
- Complaints of not feeling well with no obvious medical cause
- Changes in eating habits.
Changes in sleep patterns, school grades and an onset of panic attacks can also be indicators that you or your child is suffering from anxiety.
Resources to help you during this time:
You may contact me any time via email at email@example.com if you have questions, concerns or need additional resources.
Ø If you, your child or one of their friends feels suicidal, please immediately call 911 and ask for a welfare check.
Ø The Maricopa County Crisis Team is available 24/7 at 602-222-9444. This program is a FREE service. They will assess someone who is feeling suicidal and assist you with getting them the help they need.
Ø If you have private insurance, you can find a therapist at psychologytoday.com
Ø Teen Lifeline offers students, and parents alike, someone to talk to. You do NOT have to be suicidal to speak to someone. They are available 24/7. They can be reached by calling 602-248-8336.
Ø If you have no insurance or AHCCCS, there are many places that offer free/low cost or sliding scale fees. These fees are based on income. A few of these include:
Mountain Park Health
For additional resources please visit: